THE THING ABOUT JELLYFISH –Ali Benjamin (Author)
The thing about jellyfish is a heartwarming story about a young girl Suzy whose best friend, Franny drowns while on vacation. She has stopped talking with anyone and the middle school life is making it more hard for her to fit in. On top of that her parents are in the middle of a divorce which adds to her grief.
On her school visit to the aquarium she comes across the jellyfish exhibit and becomes convinced that her best friend died from jellyfish sting and not by drowning. She tries to learn as much as she can about the jellyfish and finally while doing her research finds a jellyfish expert in Australia. She decided to meet him to prove to everyone that her friend’s death was not an accident. As the story progresses we learn a great deal about jellyfish and how she plans to go Australia and what happens.
The story is about grief and acceptance. We learn through various flash back moments that Franny was not that a good friend to Suzy as she was more interested in being popular and at times was mean to her too but Suzy did not see that side of her. Suzy is shown to be very interested in Science and since she is a girl the other kids call her nerd and make fun of her.
Through Suzy we realize of what it’s like to be different and how the world treats you though all you want is for them to understand. How kids deal with loss and divorce and how painful the process is.
Though some of the side characters lack depth, the main characters make up for it.Also I just felt that the closure in the end was not enough. But overall I really enjoyed this touching story, and though targeted towards middle grade readers I would recommend it to everyone in a heartbeat.